1 Department of Sociology, Study Council, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Københavns Universitet2 Sociologisk Institut, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Københavns Universitet3 Department of Sociology, Study Council, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Københavns Universitet
Young drunk drivers' experiences with driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs
AIM - This article explores how young Danish drunk (and drug) drivers relate to the risk of driving under the influence (DUI). DESIGN - The study is based on qualitative interviews with 25 convicted drunk drivers who in 2010 participated in mandatory alcohol and traffic safety courses. The analysis follows Stephen Lyng’s concept of “edgework”, focusing on volitional risk taking and its effect on the acting individual’s self-identity. RESULTS - Drawing on the interviewees’ accounts of being arrested for drunk driving, the analysis discusses three different categories of young drunk drivers. Those in the first category view a DUI arrest as a loss of control and a reminder of the risk of DUI. Those in the second present DUI as a reaction to what they perceive as untenable social demands. Those in the third see loss of control - such as causing a traffic accident - as the ultimate way of claiming control over their lives. CONCLUSION - The study shows that young drunk drivers have different associations with DUI-related risks. The more constrained they feel in relation to society, the more likely it is that they will divorce negative experiences related to DUI such as being arrested or causing a traffic accident.
Nordic Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 2014, Vol 31, Issue 3, p. 229-243